One of the most convenient and well known hikes in Rio de Janeiro is Morro da Urca (more famously known as the first part of Pao de Acucar).
Hike Morro de Urca for awesome views, easy to moderate difficulty, and another FREE activity in Rio. It also gets you halfway to Pao de Acucar, one of the most famous attractions in the city.
From Leme beach, it is about 30 minutes walk to Praia Vermelha. (You can also use the easy and convenient bike share program for a faster trip)
When looking at Praia Vermelha (facing the ocean), turn left and walk to the very edge of the beach.
There, you will see the entrance to Morro da Urca’s trail.
There were lots of people, and it felt very safe and “in the open”
The first part of the trail was paved (you can take the paved trail to a different end, and then turn back if you don’t want to take the dirt trail to the top of Morro da Urca), and had gorgeous views of the sea.
If you decide to take this trail, I highly recommend wearing sneakers with good grippings (my sneakers were a bit too slippery) or something like Vibrams.
You definitely won’t regret the exertion, because you’re greeted by monkeys throughout the trail, and by more beautiful views.
Once you’ve reached the top of the dirt trail, you can take the floating tram to the top of Pao de Acucar (be sure to buy your tickets at the Praia Vermelha tram station before starting the trail, you can NOT purchase tickets at the top of Morro da Urca).
Or, you can stick around for some great beach views, and enjoy the (relatively) quiet.
From Leme Beach, to Praia Vermelha, up the paved trail, through the dirt hiking trail, and back down all the way to Leme Beach, the total trip time is about 3-4 hours.
If you’re especially fit and you’re more interested in a brisk pace and a good workout than relaxing and taking in the views and some photos, you can probably do the whole thing in under 3 hours.
I would NOT recommend the dirt trail to the top of Morro da Urca for the elderly or for children. I saw some groups trying to do it, and they didn’t look especially pleased. It is quite steep and slippery.
What is your favorite hike in Rio de Janeiro? Have you ever tried Morro da Urca?
For some reason, I didn’t make it to hike Morro da Urca until I’d already been living in Rio for 7 months… especially silly because it’s a short walk from my house. Don’t be like me – take advantage of the awesome, free hike awaiting you.
Interested in other hikes in Rio? Morro do Leme is another convenient, easy hike walking distance from the beach.